by Tamas Pradarics
On this coming Friday, in Reno, Nevada Raymundo Beltran and Paulus Moses will face off in a 12-round matchup for the vacant WBO lightweight title. The winner, however, would not only secure a world championship belt but also sign up for potential super-fights against the likes of WBC titlist Mikey Garcia, WBA/Ring belt holder Jorge Linares, or even P4P shortlisted and soon-to-be 135-pound participant Vasyl Lomachenko.
Moses (40-3, 25 KOs, 1 ND) has previously held the WBA regular belt at lightweight between 2009 and 2010 with one successful title defense. The Namibian pugilist is in a 15-2 run since he lost his title, including a decision defeat by the hands of Ricky Burns in 2012 for the same title Moses is about to fight this week.
Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs, 1 ND) has already tried to capture a world title on two occasions but came up short against Burns as well as current P4P top-rated Terence Crawford. The Los Mochis-born, Phoenix-native contender was also in line to win the vacant WBO title in 2015 but failed to make the lightweight limit of 135 pounds thus missed out the opportunity against Takahiro Ao. Though Beltran demolished his Japanese-foe in two frames, he later tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol.
The doping issue caught the attention of Team Moses who are hoping Beltran is not going to try to make the same mistake this time.
“We have done a lot of background checks on [Beltran] and his boxing history and the things we found out were not very impressive, from drug issues to banned substances to not making weight which is worrying, but we trust that the Nevada State [Athletic] Commission is aware of his history and make sure that the necessary precautions are taken before the fight to ensure that he is clean, because it would be a pity to fight against an ‘enhanced Beltran’,” said Nestor Tobias, manager of Moses to BoxingScene.com.
Tobias would be willing to put his fighter under whatever tests the NSAC requires in order to prove the participants are clean athletes. The Namibian businessman believes it is important to protect the sport from any kind of cheats.
“Moses is a clean fighter, probably one of the cleanest fighters in the world and we will take any test anywhere and anytime, in fact, both fighters should be open to any such test. We cannot take any chances; the sport of boxing needs to be clean and officials must protect fighters against cheats in the sport.”
The Beltran-Moses vacant WBO lightweight championship bout will headline a Top Rank-promoted card taking place at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno. The television-portion of the event will be aired live on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.